Foundation 2 is pleased to announce our participation in a new statewide collaboration named AMP (Achieveing Maximum Potential).  Please see the press release below.

The Foundation 2 AMP group meets the first and third Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Four Oaks Bridge (2100 First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids).  Youth currently involved in foster care and former foster care youth are welcome to join us.   If you would like more information about this program, please contact the Foundation 2 Independent Living Program office at (319) 368-3376.

July 1 Startup of Statewide Foster Care Youth Council

Eight non-profit agencies, led by Youth & Shelter Services (headquartered in Ames) have come together to create a new statewide collaboration known as the Partnership of Iowa Foster Care Youth Councils. The statewide Partnership seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive youth in Iowa.  Youth will be trained to become advocates for themselves and others and also participate in valuable leadership opportunities.  Youth will share their personal stories with each other, provide understanding and support for one another, gain life skills necessary to become healthy, independent adults and build partnerships with adults in the community.

Starting July 1, the highly regarded program formerly known as Elevate, became known as AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential) a new name selected by foster care youth themselves.  AMP will maintain the look and feel of Elevate but will now add the involvement and advocacy by the eight local non-profit agencies.  The Partnership plans to expand the AMP membership and outreach to foster care youth throughout Iowa.

Ten AMP Youth Councils will be funded through a grant from the Iowa Department of Human Services.  The eight partner agencies are in the process of raising local funding to expand and enhance each local council.  AMP will offer leadership opportunities, service learning projects, speaking opportunities, and educational/vocational assistance to youth ranging from ages 13 and up who have been involved in foster care, adoption or other out-of-home placements.  AMP will also provide the life skills foster care youth need to become self-sufficient, independent adults.

AMP is a youth engagement program summarized by the motto “nothing about us, without us.”  AMP will involve young people as advocates for themselves and as a voice for system-level improvements in child welfare policies and practices.  When supported through productive partnerships with adults, youth can be authoritative advocates for making foster care more responsive and effective.

The eight partner agencies that will facilitate and lead the statewide foster care youth program includes: Children’s Square USA (Cherokee, Council Bluffs, and Sioux City Councils), Family Resources (Davenport Council), Foundation 2 (Cedar Rapids Council), Four Oaks (Waterloo Council), Youth Shelter Care of North Central Iowa (Fort Dodge Council), as well as Youth & Shelter Services (Ames Council) and its branch in Des Moines known as Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (Des Moines Council). The Dubuque Council is overseen by the Community Circle of Care, a program of the University of Iowa. Educational and skill building services are provided to AMP through a collaborative agreement with Children & Families of Iowa.

In addition, the Partnership has links to two consulting agencies including the Youth Policy Institute of Iowa and Community Youth Concepts. The Partnership intends to network with other stakeholders including, but not limited to, the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Iowa KidsNet, the Iowa Aftercare Services Network, and group homes/PMICS and shelters.

The Partnership agencies plan to offer AMP youth a comprehensive menu of support, community connections, and leadership opportunities in order for them to “achieve maximum potential.”  Visit www.ampiowa.org for more information.

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